Big Day

Publishing my first book on my own was a monumental accomplishment for me. My journey through the world of self publishing was filled with excitement and a steep learning curve. But I’m over-the-moon that I’ve taken the next steps on this road and signed with a publisher, Booktrope. This week Booktrope re-released Tripped Up Love. It has a fresh new look inside and out. You can buy it on Amazon, iTunes, Barnes and Noble. And you know what? Since book one is re-released and book two is about to be re-released…that means book three is very close to being in your hands. I hope you fall in love with the story…for the first or second time!tulnewcover

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Travel in time with a new book

Arielle Immortal Fury, the long-awaited sixth volume in the Immortal Rapture Series by Lilian Roberts, is finally published! The steamy paranormal romance series follows college co-ed Arielle Lloyd and her immortal fiance Sebastian Gaulle. In the sixth book, Sebastian responds to threats against his beloved, proving that hell hath no fury like an Immortal.

About Arielle Immortal Fury

A memory of love…

 

On her return to the present from a time-travel journey to eighteenth-century Calais, France, college co-ed Arielle Lloyd anticipates a joyful welcome from her immortal fiancé, Sebastian Gaulle. She is stunned to discover that he doesn’t remember their time together there and wonders, has she lost him forever?

 

Danger from afar…

 

As Sebastian tries to shake loose his disturbing memories and solve the enigma of Arielle’s haunting eyes, the Russian Mafia ups the stakes in their deadly game to steal crucial documents from his company. Then an envelope arrives with photos of Arielle. The message is clear: if Sebastian fails to meet their demands, his love will pay the price with her life.

 

A love across all time…

 

Sebastian and his associates join forces with Interpol in a race to thwart the Russians’ plans. In the global battle, the Russians have made a serious mistake. They have threatened the beloved of an indestructible immortal, a woman Sebastian only now realizes he has loved across the centuries.

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

 

About Lilian Roberts

 

Lilian Roberts is a corporate engineer. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and their golden retriever. She is an avid reader and loves novels that feature characters draped in passion, mystery, and adventure. She is especially fascinated with the concept of immortality.

Arielle Immortal Fury Front Cover

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Speed

Sometimes I speed through things. I rush. I don’t look. That’s not true. Really, I look beyond whatever’s in front of me and on to the next thing pointing my eyes away from the object that’s staring me down. I speed through uncomfortable situations pushing on to the next item on the agenda. Moving quickly gives me the blindspots I crave. Speed paints a blurry picture of the truth. Add a little busy-ness and I don’t have to sit with the elephant in the room.

Right now, I’m running from the mirror. I cover my head up with the towel after my shower and then toss my bangs down as soon as I can. Then the wind catches me and makes me remember it’s about to expose the red lines on my forehead. So my legs battle the wind and carry me away faster.

But sometimes I can’t take the speed and I need to sit and absorb. To face the music. To look in the mirror. To stare at the truth. And I sit and I look and I memorize what it looks like so it can’t take me by surprise. Inevitably it still does. I see it when I least expect to and it cuts right through me.

I get that it’s a scar and in the grand scheme of this life, the life I’m watching play out in front of me, it’s no big deal. But I hate it and I can’t help it and I keep moving faster so I never have to see it…and then, neither do you.

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The Paradox of Living With a Teenager

First of all, don’t tell him I’m writing this. I teased him and told him I was going to blog about finding him a homecoming date and he didn’t think that was so funny. I don’t think he’s that into his romance writer mom sharing stories about him but this isn’t about him…it’s kind of about me. And really isn’t most of what I write inherently self centered?

I don’t get to see him that much anymore. He’s playing volleyball and travel baseball. When he isn’t busy with those he’s holed up in his room overwhelmed with homework from two AP classes(or maybe he’s just hiding from the mayhem that is now homework time at the Farley kitchen table.).  There are some days that I want to keep him up there, maybe lock him in his third floor room and make him stay there until he grows his hair long enough so he can “Rapunzel” his way out. Those are the days when I can apparently do nothing right. I bought the wrong color Powerade or I haven’t bought any good snacks. I ask too many questions or I never listen. I didn’t get printer ink fast enough or anticipate he would need a box of forty-eight cookies delivered to school at 4:30. Or maybe my eyes blinked twenty-seven times in a minute and he only wanted them to blink thirteen times.  You get the picture…there are days when it is impossible to do anything right for a teenager. Then there are the days I have to ask him a dozen times to empty the dishwasher or to pick his dirty socks off of the floor and I get an angry growl as a response.

Fortunately, there are enough days sprinkled throughout the year when I want to shrink this 6 ft 1 inch giant down into a baby and cuddle him like I used to only while I snuggle with him I want the funny repartee that has blossomed between us rather than the coos of the baby. So I walk on the eggshells that are constantly scattered along the path of my days and I try to be that mom he can talk to. The one who can relate to him and listen without judging. The one who ends up being his biggest cheerleader(even if I have to cheer silently) and simultaneously his punching bag. Inevitably, I start to feel like I’m on solid ground and I say something stupid and hurry up and backpedal before I destroy the moment. Lately it seems I take one step forward and three steps back. Thankfully, every once in a while I get a text from him as I’m reading in bed. A text thanking me for something, sometimes requesting something and once even telling me he doesn’t want to go away to college in three years and leave us. And I get that warm and fuzzy positive reinforcement reminding me I will make it through these teenage years.

Volumes are written about raising teenagers but nothing can adequately prepare you for it until you have one breathing down your neck. Every morning I wake not knowing which side of the bed he’ll roll out of but I fall asleep being filled with gratitude for every moment I’ve had with him, the words(kind and even unpleasant) we’ve exchanged, the thoughtful conversations or the occasional interest in my work….and always oh-so-thankful I have a teenaged boy to learn the ropes with before my little girl becomes a hormonal teenager of her own.IMG_3058

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Eleven things I know

1. Sleeping with my three little people in my bed is equally the most precious and torturous thing I can do.

2. Finishing a tall, no longer hot, non-fat chai at 8:30 pm is never a good idea…ever even if I have four reasons/excuses for the chai in the first place. (double rainy soccer games, big guys at a baseball tourney, internal stitches popping out of my forehead, and a fifteen-year-old two hundred miles away requesting a traditional Arab outfit by Monday for a presentation….geesh, I should have chosen vodka and not chai!)

3. Silence scares me. Like really scares me so much that I continually start talking before the other person is finished. But it’s in that silence that I find the joy, the fear and even the anger.

4. I need more silence.

5. There is no threshold for goodness and pure kindness.

6. Naked, dancing seven-year-old brothers simultaneously elicit laughter and screams of inappropriateness from older and same-aged sisters.

7. The difference between Mars and Venus is crystal clear when watching U8 girls soccer and U8 boys soccer in the same day.

8. My house will never ever be clean even if I find more hours in the day. Perfection is overrated anyway.

9. It’s a little creepy that the new U2 album is on all of our iphones whether we want it to be or not. And I think I prefer the old-fashioned way to buy U2 albums…at the music store at midnight with all of my college buddies. But I still like U2 and I wish I could convince Apple to push my books onto phones on the cloud in the same way.

10. “What if I fall?”  “Oh but my darling, what if you fly?” ~Erin Hanson I used to(like yesterday) think that I needed to have this tattooed to my eyelids. But now I’m ready to fly even if I end up failing in the process.

11. When the sun peeks above the horizon, I will feel very sorry I didn’t sleep longer.

 

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Flirting With Magick Spotlight

Booktrope has re-released Leigh Bennett’s magical contemporary romance Flirting With Magick, a funny, sweet story of finding love, losing it and finding it again.

 

Flirting With Magick Blurb

 

There’s nothing like a love spell to get Abby Williams out of her rut and over her ex, but when a gorgeous rocker, a cute colleague, and an apologetic ex–boyfriend come knocking Abby wonders if maybe the spell worked a little too well. If she even believes in that stuff.

As emotions run high, secrets are exposed, and feelings change, Abby wonders if flirting with magick is more trouble than it’s worth. But the real question is, do any of these men deserve her heart?

Flirting With Magick is a contemporary romance that proves you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.

 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes (coming soon)

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A little gruesome

I’ve been told repeatedly that writing about my experience with skin cancer was a great use of my blog. A number of you have made appointments with your doctors and even more of you have shared your stories—stories of strength—with me. Yes, the experience was pretty miserable but my doctor was fabulous and if you’re in the Richmond area and need someone to see, please message me. That being said, I want to share my scar progress with you. I swear I lift up my gorgeous bangs (Thanks Rebekah at Serendipity!) ten times a day to show people how it looks. Scars are scary. Scars on your face can be terrifying. Days after surgery they look ugly, big and prominent. But days after that, they start to get smaller. And I think if you knew, if I had known, it would get better…really soon…it would make the early days even easier and maybe you won’t be too scared to make the call for that all important appointment.  So wherever your scar may be, I hope these pictures give you a little hope.

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Today

I write to share my experiences. I write because it’s the only way I can synthesize things in my mind. I write because maybe, just maybe, my words can help someone or simply make them feel less alone.  When my nine-year-old daughter had a ruptured ovarian cyst, I sat up in the wee hours of the night reading a blog written by a mom who had had a similar experience with her daughter. I love having that me-too feeling when I read a post on Facebook about another mom sharpening 65 pencils or someone searching for a purple plastic folder with metal brads to fulfill the dreaded school supply list. I feel a little bit better when I see other moms posts about that mixed-up feeling of happiness and tears they have on the first day of school when the school bus pulls away. Reading about similar experiences gives me a feeling of camaraderie even if it’s over the invisible waves of the internet.

And I hope that’s what you get when you read my blog or my stories. Many times I err on the side of sharing too much. This summer my posts seem to have been far and few between, many of them seemingly more serious than the normal sharing of crazy kid stories. But sometimes I need to vent and put my thoughts out into this vast electronic world so I can get it off my shoulders and take that deep breath I so desperately need.

Today, on this Sunday afternoon, I find myself trying to feel human after a Mohs procedure that proved to take a greater toll than I had planned on. I have antibiotic drops to clear up the infection in my eyelid and oral antibiotics to assuage the fever that appeared yesterday. But my real problem, the one that doesn’t seem to have a magic panacea, is the way I feel about the all too big wound on my face. It traumatizes me. And I know from the look in the eyes of the people who have seen it, it surprises them too. I’m sad as I look at the photos Justin took one afternoon to try and find a suitable “author” photo. I’m sad because my forehead is front and center and scar free and I know it will be a long time before it looks like that again…if it ever will.

In the grand scheme of life, 25 stitches on your head really shouldn’t matter. Except that we live in a society that places too much value on external beauty. We cover up our blemishes with foundation. We try to diminish our wrinkles and cover our greys. Our magazines are photoshopped to show the ideal look of perfection. My imperfection is hidden under a maxi pad like bandage. And, honestly, it’s easier to handle when it’s hidden.

But it’s the scars, the imperfections, and the wounds in our souls that make us stronger and our stories more colorful. I have friends who have scars internal and external, hidden and not who have faced heroic battles. Their stories make me feel superficial and silly but mostly give me strength when I feel down. Because deep down I know this scar doesn’t make me anymore or less beautiful but when my reflection stares me down, I need my breath and my mind, and my words, to remind me it doesn’t matter.

I share my words today not looking for sympathy or empathy but as a reminder that our stories are important and can help others when shared. Several of you wrote to me the other day and said they were making a doctor’s appointment immediately because of my post and I felt like some good could be gleamed from the whole thing. I share my words with you today in case there’s some mom out there getting ready to have a similar procedure and I want her to know she’s not alone. Part of me is glad I’ve felt so sick because my home feels very safe. But I’m going to do it, I’m going to take my bandaged head out into the world for a little bit this afternoon. I’m going to remind myself that beauty is so much more than what you see at first glance. I’m going to open up my heart a little bit more and share all the love and kindness I feel in my life…and that will make me feel so much better.

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Cover up, Buttercup!

I’m sitting in the waiting room of the Skin Surgery Center waiting for the next two hours to see if the first incision/removal of my basal cell carcinoma removed all of the cancer.  The doctor marked me up and the scar will be bigger than I expected.  I was hoping for an eye lift but the fab doctor, who accommodated all of my nervous chatter,  pointed out it would only be on one side and that would be awkward…

E’s parting words to me were, “I hope they put part of your butt on your face, Mom! You can be buttface!” But I won’t be buttface because apparently I have young skin and the size, shape and placement of the cancer doesn’t work for a graft. So instead, I’ll be Frankenmommy! Have no fear, my fabulous hairdresser is going to gently cut some heavy bangs for me tomorrow so my vanity won’t suffer a huge blow.

But, why you ask am I sharing all this info with you? Well, writing relaxes me and I need to relax right now. Also, I want to remind you to stay out of the sun. I grew up in the ’70s and ’80s and lived minutes from the beach. We sat out in the sun even though my dad’s mom, the grandmother I never met, died of melanoma. I was a kid and it didn’t mean much to me. Was there baby oil involved? Once, I believe.  Stupid? Absolutely. And now I get to pay the price. But the most important message is to go get anything strange checked out. The spot above my eyebrow was red and didn’t look like much—kind of pimply. My dermatologist was pretty certain it was basal cell carcinoma from the start and biopsied it. Sure enough it was. And here I am.

I’m neurotic about my kids being in the sun. We spray and re-apply. I wear a hat now when I’m outside and 50+ SPF is my preference. I’ll get my golden glow from eating too many carrots, my green juices or the sunless tanning lotion I love instead.

***Update…I’m home now and feeling pretty lousy. I have 25 stitches in my head and my left eye is black and blue and swollen. I don’t want to share my picture…enough of you have seen it or me and judging from your reactions I should keep it to myself. The stitches come out next week and the healing will begin.

***Update #2…I’ve just seen the scar and suddenly every blemish I’ve ever had on my face pales in comparison…

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12 Things to do in IOP and Charleston

Loved our time in the lowcountry this week! We rented a house on Isle of Palms about three blocks from the beach. The house had a pool and a hot tub so we were pretty much guaranteed to have a blast without going anywhere but the area is filled with so many fabulous sights and restaurants that we ventured out quite a bit!

1. Rent a golf cart – If you are staying on IOP or Sullivan’s Island, golf carts are a great way to get to and from the beach. Plus, they are super fun!

2. Eat at Acme Lowcountry Kitchen. OH MY GOSH! It was amazing. If you want to make a reservation (and you should because it gets crowded) call before five. We reserved a table for ten on the patio but they ended up not being able to seat us there so we ate inside. To make up for it they gave us three free appetizers. We had clams, calamari and smoked gouda nachos. Holy Cow! I wanted to ask for a straw to drink the broth that the clams were in. For dinner, I had scallops with pimento grits. It was delish! I don’t know what Justin ate because he inhaled it but he moaned the whole time he ate it because he loved it so much. We also sampled desserts even though we ate more than we normally do in a day at that meal, and I am so glad we did. My fav was the chocolate peanut butter pie. It melted in my mouth and hopefully will melt off my hips just as fast. On top of all that, the service was impeccable. If you are in the area, go…at least once during your visit.

3. South Carolina Aquarium - Who doesn’t love an aquarium? This one is just the right size to entertain the kids and not bore the adults. It was Shark Week and my kids loved watching the sharks in the huge tank in the middle of the building.

4. Charleston City Market – We walked from the aquarium to the market. It’s a great place to find souvenirs or to bore your male teenagers.

5. Lowcountry Bistro - All I have to say is a crabcake sandwich on a fried green tomato and pimento cheese. Really? Yumm-o! I had the half sandwich and half of a sandwich. I needed to get some greens…that weren’t fried.

6. College of Charleston – Yeah, I have a child who is going to college in three years. I might go back to school and go to CofC. It’s gorg. And, hey, since I try to speak like a wannabe teenager I should fit right in…right? LOL!

7. Hominy Grill - At this point you’re probably wondering how I could even put on a bathing suit after all this food, rest assured I did. And I had no problem parading around IOP in it most of the time…or at least when we weren’t out eating. I had to have another fried green tomato sandwich here with a side of mashed sweet potatoes. The potatoes were like a pudding. The meal was divine. Justin had some garbage plate thing and he never even offered me a bite. Actually, I ‘m not even sure I saw his plate with any food on it because he devoured it once again. He wanted to taste the pudding because apparently every show on Food Network says it’s the best. I made him order it surreptitiously with dinner so the six kids wouldn’t ask for any. He did and it was worth every calorie. Once again, the staff was amazing. I’m not sure I’ve ever eaten in restaurants with such friendly waitstaffs.

8. DIY Ghost Tour – We tried to go on a ghost tour but apparently they fill up really fast. So, we visited two haunted sites. Poogan’s Porch (We’d eaten there before but honestly I don’t remember what the food was like.) We read the kids the ghost story that goes along with Poogan’s Porch and they pretended to listen. We also visited the Unitarian Church Graveyard. Apparently Edgar Allen Poe’s girlfriend, Annabel Lee, was buried there. Her father didn’t like old Edgar so he hid her grave somewhere in there…or so it goes. That was enough of a haunted tour for the six kids who lost interest pretty quickly when they realized they weren’t going to see a real live ghost.

9. Fort Moultrie – We did a speed tour of the Fort. It was $5 for four adults and kids were free. Worth all five hundred pennies. The views are great and there’s enough to do to stay for an hour or two or to speed through in less than thirty minutes (which is what we did). Sidenote, Edgar Allen Poe was stationed there for a year.

10. Home Team BBQ – Our first meal of the week and it really set the pace. I loved the atmosphere and the Allagash White beer I am now craving. The kids sat at a picnic table behind us and we sat at the bar…perfection! This little area of Sullivan’s Island is cute too. There are at least half a dozen restaurants oozing with atmosphere. We wanted to go to Poe’s Tavern but were worried that we wouldn’t fit in the van on the way home if we consumed any more food. Justin popped in and bought an uber cool T-shirt and spoke with the owner. He lived in Richmond and worked at Mosaic. It was neat to have the Poe/Richmond connection.

11. Jack’s Cosmic Dogs - My kids said I had to add this. Being a vegetarian(or at least a fake one), I was not interested in eating a hot dog so I had a chicken sandwich. It was fine but my kids say the homemade corn dogs were the best thing they had all week. I really don’t want to know if it was the batter that was homemade or if the hot dogs are homemade. I don’t really like to think about hot dogs at all and I certainly don’t want to think about how they’re made – EVER!

12. The BEACH! The beach at Isle of Palms is near perfection. The kids spent hours in the water. There weren’t any jellyfish or sharks (it was at the forefront of their minds after they stayed up late watching all the shark shows on Discovery). The sand was just right for walking or running-something we really needed to do to counteract all the food we were eating. And it wasn’t too crowded. IMG_2816

 

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